April 13: US hedge funds buy into LSE

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April 13: At least two US hedge funds have followed Nasdaq by buying London Stock Exchange shares, helping the LSE’s stock rise another 1 per cent today to £12.12. Halcyon Asset Management bought derivatives over nearly 2m LSE shares at £11.86, higher than the £11.75 Nasdaq paid. Chesapeake Partners says it bought CFDs over almost 1m shares at the same price. The bloggers are beginning, slowly, to warm to the LSE-takeover theme. Finnews.blogspot.com has a go at running through some of the options, to mixed effect. Another, Caito, has some fun explaining “Why I really love Clara Furse”. For something really trivial, go to blonde222.

Rolls-Royce today became the latest company to cut its pension deficit. It is closing its final salary pension schemes but injecting £500m into them. The group’s shares are up 2 per cent.

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers, the pubs group, are up almost 4 per cent at 484p on Lina Saigol’s story in our paper this morning that Robert Tchenguiz made an informal takeover approach at 550p a share, which was rebuffed. M&B has put out a statement reiterating what its chairman, Roger Carr, told us last night: that it would only entertain “a formal written proposal”.

Vodafone shares continue to advance (up another 2½ per cent) on the rumour which circulated yesterday that Verizon was about to offer it $50bn for its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless. There seems little firm about the story and the market reaction probably reflects little more than an ill-formed sense that “something” will happen at Vodafone over the next year.

The directors of RAB Capital, one of the few quoted hedge fund companies, have sold a 9 per cent stake to a Belgian investment group called Sofina at 85p a share. Sofina, which bought about 5 per cent of RAB a year ago, is the finance arm of Solvay, the private Belgian chemicals group. It and the Solvay family have been long-term investors in RAB funds. RAB’s directors still own well over 50 per cent of the company and a Sofina executive is joining the group’s board.

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